It was with four packed theatres at Silver City that Cinéfest Sudbury kicked off its 25th birthday this year.
Cinéfest organizers were thrilled with the large turnout, which poured from Silver City’s lobby and into the parking lot while waiting to enter the theatres.
The opening film for Cinéfest this year was “The Art of the Steal”, directed by Jonathan Sobol, who was present for the screening on Sept. 14.
“The film is so much fun, it’s a really strong comedy and seems to have set the tone quite well for a 25th birthday party,” said Cinéfest Executive Director Tammy Frick. “When we saw the film, we just knew it would work and that’s validated by people’s reactions afterwards.”
“That Art of the Steal” follows motorcycle daredevil and past art thief Crunch Calhoun (Kurt Russell) who plans one last heist with his brother Nicky (Matt Dillon). The two get their old team back together and plans get complicated as members develop hidden agendas.
Sobol said he started writing the first draft of the script over eight years ago.
“I came up with my ending and worked backwards from there,” he said.
Sobol was both surprised and pleased with the turnout.
“I was not expecting that kind of turnout at all,” he said. “It’s really a testimony for the people of the Sudbury area. They’ve clearly embraced the festival and it’s become a part of what Sudbury’s about.” He was also excited to open a festival and would gladly return to Sudbury to screen and film in the future.
After the screening, there was a reception at the Science North Vale Cavern for people to celebrate and discuss the first night of Cinéfest.
“This is the best part,” Frick said. “It’s talking to the audience after they’ve seen the film. The after party is where the real sharing goes on. They’re in there talking about what films they’re going to see, what guests are coming in town — it’s really neat.”
She said many people take the week of Cinéfest off work to travel to Sudbury and meet with others who enjoy film, as well as meeting people involved in the films.
“I think what makes watching a film different from attending one at a festival is when you have a chance to have access to the true creator or the storyteller,” said Frick.
Frick said no matter the success, Cinéfest will continue to improve.
“We can’t sit back and think that we’re done growing. This audience keeps pushing us and wants more, so we’re always on the lookout for more.”
Cinéfest Sudbury will continue to celebrate its 25th birthday until the final screenings on Sept. 22. For a detailed schedule and tickets, visit www.cinefest.com.